Friday, January 9, 2015

UPDATED AGAIN: Wouldn't it be nice to have a Prime Minister who didn't try to take political advantage of terrorist tragedies?

The events this week in Paris were horrifying.   It's true that the West is currently being targeted by Jihadist militants, some isolated and deranged, some well-funded and trained.

Our values of freedom of expression and equality are incredibly important and our support for those values cannot waiver in the face of these evil threats.

However, I'm appalled that we have a Prime Minister and governing Conservative party willing to take full advantage of these tragedies to try to win political points and further their own narrow partisan interests, and even raise some extra cash, as this CP story makes clear:

"The Conservative Party of Canada has removed a "Donate Now" button from a web page which highlighted Stephen Harper's comments about the deadly Paris terrorist attack, after critics called it crass.

"The page on the party website, titled Standing Up Against Terrorism, featured the prime minister's reaction to the horrific shootings at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and noted that Canadians can count on Harper and the Conservatives to ensure their safety.

"Initially, the page featured a button in the top right corner where supporters could click to donate to the party.

"Liberal MP Marc Garneau was quick to condemn that as inappropriate.

""Conservatives fundraising off an ongoing terrorist act is offensive and totally crass," Garneau wrote on Twitter.

""Is there no limit?"

"The button was later removed to ensure people understand the web page was never meant to raise money, said Cory Hann, the Conservative party's director of communications."

You can read more here about how Harper's Conservatives are trying to turn this week's tragedy into a benefit for their own party. 

Here's the link to the Conservative Party's 'Standing Up Against Terrorism' page.

It's almost as if the Conservatives see a silver lining when terrorist attacks take place as it gives them another opportunity to bang their own drums and try to win more support based on the lie that Harper is doing much to combat this threat.

I long for Canadian political leadership that, while taking actual threats to Canadians seriously and taking action to prevent them, also approaches the international problem with a bit more nuance and less opportunistic, militaristic jingoism.

****UPDATE #1

This Globe article highlights how Harper's get-tough/shoot missiles approach to fighting Jihadists, particularly those who are homegrown and the greatest actual threat to Canadians, isn't working:

“I think the government could do more,” said Hussein Hamdani, a Ontario lawyer.

“They invest very little in the Muslim community, supporting the moderating voices. This is where the Muslim community can do the heavy lifting.”

****UPDATE #2

I don't usually praise columns by Lorrie Goldstein at the Toronto Sun, but this one deserves it.

"...covert operations, intelligence-gathering, infiltration of the enemy -- even mass arrests, coercive interrogation and targeted assassinations from Israel's perspective -- are necessary tactics for fighting terrorism.  But they are not a strategy to end it.

"For that, one has to understand what drives the terrorists and address it.  In other words, if our long-term, global war against terrorism is to succeed, and there are no guarantees, it will require both Harper’s tactics and Trudeau’s strategy."

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